Education Week - April 24, 2013 - Special Report - (Page S4)

S4 | EDUCATION WEEK APRIL 24, 2013 Industry & Innovation > n Melanie Burford/Prime for Education Week. The Pathways in Technology Early College High School, or P-TECH, in New York City, offers students a curriculum in core academic subjects and gives them the opportunity to earn an associate degree in applied science from the New York City College of Technology. From left, Alec Miller, 16, Brigette Luboa, 16, and Radcliffe Sadler, 16, work on a project during a computer graphics art class at the school. Industry Shapes Goals and Tech Focus at N.Y.C. School A public-private effort led by K-12, college, and IBM officials at P-TECH aims to prepare students for future careers M BY SEAN CAVANAGH any schools aspire to give students the skills they need to make it in the workforce. The school known as p-tech is trying to accomplish that goal in a more direct way—by bringing the workforce to students. The Pathways in Technology Early College High School, located in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, in New York City, offers an unusual variation on the public-private partnerships that have taken hold in districts in very different forms around the country. The school has worked directly with one of the nation’s best-known technology companies, ibm, and with public universities in the city, which together have helped shape a curriculum and academic approach that allows students to graduate from high school with an associate degree—and possibly with a jump-start on a job at the company or elsewhere in a technology-related field. Ibm’s involvement is not limited to helping hone the curriculum. The company, with headquarters in Armonk, N.Y., is arranging to have its employees individually mentor each of the school’s 230 students, providing them with everything from help with academic lessons to broader advice on career and life goals. And it has promised to give p-tech students priority in getting jobs at the company when they graduate. P-tech was founded just two years ago, and so it could be years before the program is mature enough to tell whether its grades “914” model is meeting its ambitions. But school leaders and policymakers in other school districts, and at the national level, are already betting on the p-tech design. The school’s boosters include President Barack Obama, who touted ptech’s approach in his State of the Union address this year as a model for aligning K-12 skills with employer demands. Whether the program’s model can be replicated in other parts of the country, where the pools of employers are different, remains to be seen. And it’s unclear whether having one company so directly involved in shaping the focus of a school makes sense, academically, or in meeting workforce demands. But p-tech administrators, and college and industry officials involved in designing the school, say they already see evidence that the connection the high school provides to college and to employers is a powerful hook for teenagers. “Having the industry piece at the end, to say to them ‘this is a possibility,’ is a great motivator,” said Rashid Ferrod Davis, the school’s principal. P-tech’s model essentially ensures that “automatically, you are a college student,” he said. “We have shortened their anxiety [about college] from day one.” New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg first announced plans to create the school that would become p-tech in 2010. A steering committee made up of representatives from the city’s department of education, ibm, the City University of New York, and the New York

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - April 24, 2013 - Special Report

Education Week - April 24, 2013
Education Industry Players Exert Public- Policy Influence
Companies, Policymakers Look For Common Ground
Industry Shapes Goals And Tech Focus at N.Y.C. School
Beta Testing Ed. Products Can Get Tricky for Schools
Vetting Product Research to Determine What Works
Big-Name Companies Feature Larger-Impact Research Efforts
What to Ask About Research
Privatization Choices
À la Carte Purchasing Tactics Signal Districts’ Unique Needs
Big Companies Face K-12 Shift

Education Week - April 24, 2013 - Special Report